My four favorite parts of Science Mike’s new book

My four favorite parts of Science Mike’s new book September 12, 2016

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If for some reason you don’t know “Science Mike” McHargue, he’s someone you need to know, especially if you’re nerdy and Christian at the same time. Science Mike hosts two awesome podcasts, Ask Science Mike and The Liturgists, which he co-hosts with Michael Gungor. His new book Finding God In the Waves is an incredible story about his journey from faith to atheism and back. It’s one of the most encouraging and compelling spiritual memoirs I’ve read. And it’s way more than a memoir. It’s a blueprint for reconstructing your faith after it’s been deconstructed. I really want to believe that a large movement of people are making the same journey that Mike and I have both made in different ways into a faith that is both pragmatic and mystical. There are so many gems in Science Mike’s book. I don’t want to spoil it all for you, so I picked out my four favorites.

1. His childhood Ghostbuster pack

Reading this made my eyes pop open wide and filled my heart with childhood nerd solidarity:

Here’s how deep my “nerdery” ran: When I was eight, I took apart a VCR and reassembled its parts in a lunch box. I put the lunch box in a backpack and then ran some cabling from the backpack to a roughly cylindrical mechanical assemblage that I had scavenged (OK, stolen) from my grandparents’ farm in rural North Florida. The end result was a homemade proton pack, which allowed me to start an unlicensed Ghostbusters franchise in my neighborhood. [9]

Mike and I are the same age. So I remember pretending to be Ghostbusters. I wasn’t handy with gadgets like this though. I wish I had grown up in his neighborhood so I could have had a proton pack too.

2. The nerdiest two sentences about faith in Jesus ever written

I didn’t necessarily invite Jesus “into my heart,” as the saying goes. Instead, Jesus lives in my anterior cingulate cortex, the seat of compassion.

Somebody needs to make a t-shirt out of this! It’s the nerdiest thing I’ve ever read about faith in Jesus. And there are so many sentences just like it throughout the book!

3. The most uncomfortably honest sentence about faith in Jesus ever written

You can be skeptical about the Resurrection and still have an encounter with Jesus that’s life-changing.

Wow! That’s such a scandalous thing to say. And yet, it’s true. One of the most spiritually wise people I’ve ever met told me that she didn’t pursue ordained ministry because she can’t bring herself to believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus. She connects with the resurrected Jesus like very few people I’ve ever known, but as a rationalistic idea, the resurrection makes no sense to her.

The good news is that Jesus doesn’t wait until we have a doctrinal ducks in a row to mess with us. In fact, I would hypothesize that mystical encounters can only really happen to people who aren’t sure they get it. The more sure you are that you already get it, the less Jesus has to work with. The more you commune with the resurrected Jesus, the less the idea of resurrection matters as an abstract proposition.

4. The axioms

If you’re familiar with Science Mike, you know that he developed a series of axioms that helped him find his way back to faith. The axioms capture what he thinks he can legitimately say scientifically about God, sin, prayer, the Bible, Jesus, and other themes. Here’s an example.

Jesus is at least a man so connected to God that he was called the Son of God, and the largest religious movement in human history is centered around his teachings. Even if this is all Jesus is, following his teachings can promote peace, empathy, and genuine morality.

Now before you get your undies in a bunch over this, let’s consider what the axioms are and what they are not. They are not a foundation for Christian spirituality. Agreeing with the truth of these two sentences is not going to bring you into deeper communion with Jesus. But what the axioms can do is address any skeptical objections you have so that you can give yourself permission to enter into mystical divine encounter. Faith does not come from propositions. Faith happens when our need for logic and facts hasn’t put us into too tight a straightjacket to experience God.

Faith happens when I can say that even if this isn’t everything we say it is, I’m going to go all-in anyway. It’s a choice in how we interpret our lives. I don’t understand how or when God intervenes in our world. But I choose to live as if God is instigating love through my life circumstances. I interpret all my setbacks and triumphs as though a gracious God is guiding me to the deepest possible joy. The reason I’m able to do that is because I’m able to stave off my mind’s objections with axioms like Science Mike’s. Not everyone needs this resource. Some people are more comfortable ignoring science and logic than others. But if you’ve got an overly analytical mind, use the axioms to help it relax and surrender so that you can taste the joy of mystical union.

Check out Mike’s book on Amazon!

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